When Parents Are Away, How Will Pets Play?

It's an eternal dilemma of pet parents everywhere, when they've no other option but to leave their pet—to board or not to board? And, what are some non-boarding options? Well, if you're visiting this page, you're already aware of what "other options" are available to you, which can include curbside check-ins (for a bit of mid-day relief), extended visits and dog walks, overnight care, and even long-term, in-home visits. Informatively, I offer all of these services and more! If you don't see it listed on my Services & Rates page, just contact me and ask.

Which option—boarding or pet sitting/dog walking—is better for your furry friend? Personally, I don't believe one to be a better than the other. I think whichever service a person chooses depends entirely on the personality of the pet! Is your pet well socialized and prefer hanging out with her or his furry friends? Or, do you want your dog to become better socialized around other dogs? If you answered yes to either question, consider choosing a doggie daycare (for short-term care) or a reputable, longer-term boarding facility.

Maybe you've adopted a rescued pet who is skittish around other animals or prone to biting. Maybe your pet is in her or his twilight years and boarding would be too stressful. Or, perhaps you have two pups who are the best of friends to each other and would rather just play together all day long (ah... such is the life of a pampered pet). If this describes your pet, then having a pet sitter or dog walker "check-in" and/or provide mid-day walks would probably suit you (and your pet) best.

Whatever option you choose, here are a few things to consider for either:

Doggie Daycare/Boarding

  • Ensure your dog is well socialized and actually enjoys hanging out with other dogs.

  • If your dog is in need of socialization, check to see if the daycare offers one-on-one training to provide your pet with the supervised socialization she or he needs.

  • Visit the facility (unannounced is best)! Is there natural lighting? Good ventilation? Ample room for dogs to play in a communal area?

Pet Sitting/Dog Walking

  • Meet one-on-one with your potential pet care provider to ensure everyone is on the same page with what sort of care your pet needs. Your initial consultation should be NO-pressure and FREE!

  • Make sure the person you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured.

  • What will your pet care provider do in an emergency? Is she or he certified in Pet First Aid & CPR? Any reputable pet sitter will find out as much as possible about your pet before you leave and will be prepared for any problem that comes up.

  • This is a no-brainer, but watch how the person interacts with your pet!

I think doggie daycares and newer, luxury boarding facilities (posh dog hotels, really) are wonderful for pets that are young, healthy, socialized, and sociable! However, the pets I generally care for are older, less socialized, rescued, and/or have various "special needs." And... cats! Cats, in general, prefer staying in their own homes. Once you determine where your pet will be happier, check out any pet sitter or boarding facility you’re considering as if your pet’s life depends on it. Because, really, it does!